by Vito Basile
By now, the world is familiar with the coronavirus and the effects it has on people. With the recent season suspensions of the NBA, NHL, MLS, and the canceling of all NCAA tournaments including March madness, as well as delaying the start of the MLB season, this leaves us with almost no sports. “Almost” is the key word here, because at the moment, the UFC and President Dana White have decided that UFC Brazil, which takes place tomorrow at 5pm ET, will still go on as planned, with some minor/major tweaks, depending how you look at it. UFC Brazil will have no spectators in the arena, and the event will be moved from its 5pm ET start to 3pm ET. It will still air on ESPN+, but now it will also air on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, according to ESPN insider Ariel Helwani.
For now, these are the only changes to UFC events, but there’s been speculation that Dana White and the UFC, amid the pandemic, were going to cancel at least the next six events including the highly anticipated UFC 249 Khabib v. Ferguson on April 18th in New York. Fans were beginning to become outraged by this because it seems that the MMA gods just won’t let Khabib and Ferguson meet in the octagon. Why does it feel this way you ask? Well, Khabib and Ferguson have been scheduled a total of four times not including this recent one, and every single time there’s been some sort of reason for it to be scratched from the card, whether it be injuries, weight issues, or some weird reason for the cancellation.
Fans are growing impatient, awaiting this epic bout, and now for there to be another reason for a cancellation, albeit a serious and dangerous one, fans just feel that this match-up is one that was never meant to be. Not only would UFC 249 be canceled, but there are 4 other cards that fans would have to miss out on which includes former welterweight champ Tyrone Woodley v. Leon Edwards, an epic heavyweight showdown between two of the hardest hitters in the UFC in Francis Ngannou and Jarzinho Rozenstruik, and the match-up up between long time UFC veteran and former heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem v. Walt Harris.
A lot of great match-ups that would be canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For the moment, Dana White has said that he’s working closely with the government and doctors to come to some sort of consensus on what’s best for the organization, fighters, and fans. For now, these events are safe and will go on as planned with some minor tweaks. Much like COVID-19, though, things can change pretty quickly and before you know it, the UFC will follow suit with all the other major sports organizations.
Stay safe and healthy and take care of you and your loved ones. Be sure to educate yourself with the right information and listen to that information. Also tune in this Saturday night at 5:00 for the debut of Fight Night on FM89!